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This week the weather became significantly warmer, with the occasional unpredicted thunderstorm. Spring seems in the air more than ever, and I think the most appropriate theme for this week was the emergence of small things: birds, creepy crawlies as well as new arrivals. We had chicks, pups, cubs and calves, all of which of course made us very happy! Enjoy this week in pictures…
With the spring rains, the fresh green growth seems to have given the herbivores new vitality. We came across these two zebra stallions play fighting, although at times the intensity was a bit more than 'play'.
A baby rhino approaches us with curiosity. White rhino are heavily reliant on smell and sound, as their vision is very poor. Here we were downwind, which brought the little one very close to us, as he could not get our scent until he was right next to the vehicle.
The sun sets over the Northern Break of Marthly.
A Crowned plover watches over its chick next to the airstrip. Springtime is bringing many new faces to Londolozi!
In parrot-like fashion using its agile feet and bill, a Brown headed parrot pries seeds from an Albizia pod.
The Kashane Male. This big male is mainly dominant over the Ravenscourt property to our west, and we were lucky to catch a glimpse of him this week. He was tracking a female leopard that had come through the area, smelling closely and scent-marking. He gave up after a while, however, choosing to sleep in the shade as the day became hot.
Another new face... an unknown young male leopard stalks some impala near Piva Pan. We are not sure of his identity but presume him to be the offspring of the Tugwaan Male.
A Lilac-breasted roller shows his beauty secret: a dust bath, which helps to rid his stunning plumage of parasites.
The burned areas have been full of game lately, with the nutritious greenflush attracting animals big and small. Here a crash of rhino play with one another, while zebra and wildebeest graze behind.
The Tsalala cubs wait for their mothers' return from hunting. The females seem to have struggled with their hunting missions lately, not securing a meal large enough to fill everyone. Nevertheless they seem to be coping and perhaps finding bits and pieces along the way for sustainability. As with the photos of them from last week, whilst the mothers are away they tend to use points of elevation to be on the lookout, which also makes for fantastic photographic opportunities!
Despite being only four months apart in age, the two sets of cubs definitely take on their roles as elders and little ones. The older four always seem to take their lookout roles seriously while the younger ones play. Even when we found the cubs on this morning, the elders were peering from behind the termite mound, while the younger two hid in the bushes behind. They eventually came out and played in the open.
The Wahlberg's eagles are back form their migration to breed. They will return to the same nest sites each year. Here, one feeds on the carcass of a Cape turtle dove it had just caught.
A Black crake sits on the edge of the causeway, looking for the aquatic invertebrates on which they feed.
A Purple roller takes off from its perch. I was very excited when I thought I had captured my first good shot of this bird, only to find afterwards that I was a split second too early! Regardless, you can see its purple plumage as well as the 'third eyelid' or nictitating membrane that many animals have for protection.
A dazzle of zebra cross the road in playful pursuit of one another.
A white rhino calf runs in front of its mother. This behaviour of the calf 'leading' is diagnostic of the white rhino, while with the black rhino, the calf follows.
A Martial eagle clutches its kill, what we presume to be a squirrel. This fearsome predator will even take baby impala during the lambing season.
Two young elephant cross the causeway, smelling us as they approach.
We had a fantastic visit from the Wild dogs this week, and it was an entirely different pack than the one usually crossing through Londolozi! This pack consisted of about 20 animals, including 7 pups. They seemed to take the poor impala population on Marthly by surprise, managing to kill 3 in one day. Here some of the adults fight over the remains of a large ram.
The pups were then allowed by their parents, the alpha pair, to share the remains of the head.
We bumped into the Dudley Riverbank 3:3 Young Male during a thunderstorm one morning. He was taking advantage of the sounds to mask his presence while he hunted impala.
Watching him stare hungrily at the impala with a soaking wet coat made us appreciate how many challenges these animals face just to get a meal.
A very tiny elephant wobbles across the road. We didn't think he was more than a few weeks old.
My new favourite spot is the hyena den! We are very excited to watch these four youngsters grow up.